U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials: 12 Runners To Watch

Photo: PhotoRun.net

Defending women's champion Deena Kastor makes her move in the 2008 Trials race. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The top three finishers in both the men’s and women’s races will represent the United States in the marathon this summer in London.

Written by: Mario Fraioli

On January 14, the nation’s top marathoners will gather in Houston, Texas to compete for six coveted spots on next summer’s Olympic Marathon team. The top three finishers in both the men’s and women’s races will represent the United States in the marathon this summer in London.

Reigning Trials champions Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor return to defend their 2008 titles, but it will not be an easy task for either one of them. As the marathon has gained popularity amongst the country’s best distance runners over the last four years, many new stars have emerged in the sport—meaning there are a number of capable athletes who will challenge the defending champions for victory in Houston.

To qualify for the Trials race in Houston, men had to run under 2:19 for the full 26.2-mile marathon distance, or break 65 minutes for the half marathon, in the past two years. Women had to run faster than 2:46 for the full marathon, or 1:15 for the half marathon, to gain entry into the race. As of today, 383 athletes (158 men, 225 women) had qualified for both races.

With race day right around the corner, here’s a breakdown of 12 of the top runners to watch at this year’s race.

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